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Acute Moist Dermatitis AKA Hot Spots: What to Know

acute moist dermatitis

What is Acute Moist Dermatitis AKA Hot Spots?

Acute moist dermatitis, best known as hot spots, is one of the most common skin conditions among dogs. Hot spots are localized areas of skin inflammation and infection. These often appear as moist, red, hot lesions on the dog’s legs, paws, chest, head, or hip area. 

Many hot spots will begin small enough that owners may mistake them for a bug bite. These lesions are incredibly itchy and painful. As the dog licks, scratches, and bites at the area, the infection can spread and continue to worsen.

Causes of Hot Spots

Several things can cause irritation and lead a dog to lick, scratch, or chew at that irritation excessively. The most common contributing factor for hot spots is bacteria — moisture and irritated skin create the ideal environment for bacteria to grow. 

Some common triggers identified by AKC include:

  • Allergies: Food and environmental allergies can both cause excessive itching in dogs.
  • Pyoderma: This means “pus in the skin” or bacterial infections of the skin. Primary skin infections caused by yeast or bacteria can cause severe itching, which often leads to secondary hot spots.
  • Pests: Insect bites can be so annoying for both people and dogs alike. Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and other small insect bites can cause skin irritation and itching.
  • Ear Infections: Yeast or bacteria within the ear canal can cause dogs to scratch at the area surrounding the ears.
  • Poor Grooming: Dogs that are not groomed regularly can develop tangled or matted hair, which can lead to moisture retention and ultimately, bacterial infections.
  • Anal Gland Issue: A dog’s anal glands can become impacted or infected, causing the area to become painful and uncomfortable, resulting in excessive licking.
  • Moisture & Humidity: Hot spots are much more likely to occur during warm and humid weather. Excess moisture within the dog’s coat caused by bathing or swimming can also lead to hot spots. 
  • Behavioral Problems: Sometimes dogs lick themselves due to stress, boredom, or other behavioral or attention-seeking issues.

Signs of Hot Spots in Dogs

Because excessive itching tends to contribute to the rapid spread of infection, hot spots often grow at a fast rate over a short timeframe. Fortunately, there are many symptoms and signs of acute moist dermatitis you can look out for, including:

  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Pain
  • Itching
  • Oozing
  • Warm to touch
  • Bad odor
  • Excessive scratching
  • Hair loss

Healing Hot Spots in Dogs

Because these inflamed spots can worsen so quickly, healing hot spots in dogs ASAP is essential. While some hot spots can be treated at home, the underlying cause should always be identified by a licensed veterinarian to prevent further infection. 

It’s especially critical to seek medical assistance if you’re unable to keep your pet from licking/scratching or if the affected area is:

  1. Increasing in size
  2. Constantly bleeding
  3. Displaying any colored discharge

Depending on the severity, your veterinarian may treat the area with a combination of things such as antibiotics or anti-itch medication. Depending on the cause, additional treatment may be necessary, such as flea/tick prevention, long-term allergy medication, ear medication, and more. 

If you’re unable to get to the vet right away, PetMD shared some steps you can try at home to help heal your pet’s hot spots in the meantime. 

  1. Trim the area around the hot spot with dog hair clippers (not scissors). This will allow the affected area to get some air, and prevent excess moisture from slowing the healing process.
  2. Clean the skin with a mild, dog-safe, water-based antiseptic spray or wipe, or an antibacterial shampoo.
  3. Apply a veterinary-recommended hot spot treatment spray that is safe if ingested. 
  4. Place an e-collar, or “the cone of shame,” on your dog to help prevent them from biting, licking, or scratching the hot spot.
  5. Monitor the area for improvement and signs of healing (decreased redness, less moisture, smaller lesion size).

Note: Human medications such as Neosporin, hydrocortisone, and Vaseline should NOT be used. Topical creams and ointments tend to cause dogs to lick the area even more, so they should be avoided if possible.

In some cases, you can help at home by treating your dog to regular flea prevention, regular grooming (especially after swimming), preventing ear infections by administering maintenance ear cleansers, and treating allergies if need be. Additionally, try to avoid boredom. Decrease excess licking behaviors by providing your pet with interactive toys. Finally, the key to healing hot spots in dogs or preventing further acute moist dermatitis is determining the underlying cause. Consult with your veterinarian or visit one of our 21 Arizona PetVet locations closest to you.

Disclaimer: Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately. 

Why Preventive Health Care for Pets Is Important 

health care for pets
Health Care for Pets – Why Pet Preventive Care Matters
Health care for pets, including pet preventive care, matters a great deal to  companion animals. Your family pet’s health care plan should incorporate regular  check-ups, pet dental care, and grooming to keep them looking and feeling their  best. Good pet preventive care helps maximize our faithful companions’ health,  wellness, and quality of life, which is what every pet parent wants for their furry  friends.
Like people, dogs are living longer. And like people, dogs are at risk for developing  age-related illnesses and issues like arthritis, diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease,  and cancer. Regular pet preventive care helps your vet identify your pet’s particular  risk factors – whether it’s age, lifestyle, weight, or genetics, and quickly get on top of  any problem. Early detection of disease and intervention allows you and your vet to  decide the best course of care for your pet.
Pet preventive care often includes lifestyle and/or dietary changes and may  incorporate medication, especially as your pet ages and risk factors increase. Cats are often overlooked for preventive care, but they need regular wellness checks, too!  Your veterinarian will likely recommend annual wellness programs for your pet,  including routine blood work to monitor for potential problems. Some pets may  require more frequent veterinary health checks depending on their age and overall  condition. Naturally, older pets should see the vet more frequently.

Creating a Family Pet Health Care Plan 
The core of your pet’s preventive care plan should include complete wellness exams  by a veterinary professional. According to the ​Merck Veterinary Manual​,
“​Adult dogs​ should have a complete veterinary examination at least once a year.  Puppies need veterinary visits usually every 3 to 4 weeks until they are about 4  months old. Geriatric dogs (older than 7 to 8 years old) should see their veterinarian  twice a year or more frequently because illness is more common in older pets, and it  can be identified sooner.​”
“​Adult cats ​should have a complete veterinary examination at least once a year.  Kittens need veterinary visits usually every 3 to 4 weeks until they are about 4  months old. Geriatric cats (older than 8 to 9 years old) should see their veterinarian  twice a year or more frequently because illness is more common in older pets, and  should be identified sooner to provide proper treatment.”

Key Tips for Pet Preventive Care  
Your veterinarian will recommend timelines for your pet’s core vaccines and dental  care. Routine veterinary preventive care for your pets should include the following  items, as well as any additional health screens recommended by your veterinarian,  tailored for your pet’s specific needs.
● Vaccinations
● Parasite control
● Dental care
● Grooming
● Stool screening
● Bloodwork
● Heartworm testing

Finally, if you have questions about preventive pet care or your cat or dog’s health,  give your vet a call. Don’t have a regular vet? AZPetVet has 21 convenient locations  around the Valley. Find an AZPetVet location near you ​here​.

Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or  treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may  have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a  medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary  emergency hospital immediately.  

Cats Have Allergies! Itching to Help Your Feline Friend?

All About Allergies in Cats

Just like humans, cats have allergies. However, unlike humans, your cat will likely not develop the same watery sinuses or tickle in their throat, so it’s good to be able to identify signs and determine the best treatment methods early in order to spare your feline friend many miserable months.

Signs of Allergies in Cats

Most commonly, cats develop allergies to their environment, food, and fleas, and you will likely see signs of these allergies on their skin and coat. While no two cats are the same and symptoms may vary, if you want to know how to tell if your cat has allergies, here are some common signs to look out for:

  • Excessive scratching
  • Increased licking
  • Chewing/biting at skin
  • Hair loss
  • Lesions
  • Scabbing 
  • Dry/flaking skin
  • Redness on chin, paws, or mouth
  • Sneezing, coughing, or wheezing
  • Head shaking/frequent ear infections
  • Runny nose

Cats with allergies to food will most often scratch at their heads and necks and experience gastrointestinal issues like vomiting or diarrhea. Frequent changes to diet can cause these reactions but ultimately, food allergies can show up in cats at any age or at any time. The cause of food allergies in small animals is the protein source, with chicken and beef being the most common allergens. Sneezing, coughing, wheezing, severe itching, and redness and swelling of the skin are common signs of environmental allergies in cats who spend a lot of time outdoors,. Flea allergies are most commonly transmitted from a flea bite directly and results in itchiness, redness, crusting, and hair loss of the head, neck, rump, dorsum, flank, and tail regions. It’s important to note that it may only require one bite to trigger 2-3 weeks of severe itchiness and discomfort. Cats can also be allergic to other types of insect bites, such as mosquitos, and can result in ulcerations and crusting lesions on the ears, nose, and less commonly, around the mouth and on the body.

What Are Cats Allergic To?

Not only is it crucial to your furry friend’s health for you to be able to recognize signs of allergies in cats, but it’s imperative that you understand what might be prompting these reactions. Here’s a list of some common triggers:

  • Various pollens (dust, tree, weed)
  • Protein source in food
  • Mold or mildew
  • Fleas/flea preventatives
  • Other insect bites
  • Perfumes
  • Cleaning products
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Prescription medications
  • Rubber or plastic materials

How to Treat Your Cat’s Allergies

Since the signs of allergies in cats vary, you’ll want to visit your primary veterinarian to best determine how to treat your cat’s allergies and develop a plan that meets his or her specific needs. Your vet may determine the source of the reaction(s) but if not, they may recommend skin or blood tests, medications, or suggest an elimination diet with the goal of narrowing down potential causes.

It’s unfortunate that even with technology today, our pets are still unable to verbalize their feelings. It’s our duty as pet parents to become aware of common triggers, avoid products or environments that over-stimulate the senses, and remain cognizant of abnormal behaviors in order to act accordingly and in a timely manner. Keeping a close eye on your feline friends and treating symptoms as soon as they arise guarantees more snuggles and less sneezing all year round. 

Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately. 

Happy Vet Tech Week!

National Vet Tech Week – October 11-17, 2020

Happy Vet Tech Week! AZPetVet doesn’t need a reason to celebrate some of our most important team members, but we will take this week as the perfect excuse! 

Image of vet tech examining dog paw

So, when is Vet Tech week? This national holiday came about back in 1993, and now occurs every third week in October. During these seven days, veterinarian practices and pet owners alike honor the vet tech profession and all the work they do to keep furry friends happy and healthy. You’ll find Vet Techs wherever you find veterinarians on staff – from animal hospitals like AZPetVet to the local zoo. Essentially, anywhere that cares for animals will have Vet Techs who serve as a critical component of the practice. And, they do not have it easy! Every day looks a little different, and brings both new adventures as well as challenges! Their driving force? Their endless love for all kinds of pets and animals! 

Vet Tech appreciation week 2020 is an excellent opportunity to praise the work that our Vet Techs and veterinary support team perform every day. They work tirelessly to give excellent care to every pet they come across. Below are just a few of the responsibilities they fulfill here at AZPetVet: 

  • Educate clients about pet health
  • Assist with emergency cases 
  • Collect blood and other samples
  • Check vital statistics
  • Emotional support to both pets and their parents
  • Provide nutritional advice
  • Monitor anesthesia
  • Administer medications
  • Provide nursing care
  • Medical therapy 
  • Radiology
  • Dental cleaning and x-rays 
  • Provide belly rubs and cuddles (yes, these are a must!) 

As you can see, Vet Techs definitely have their hands full. In light of this national holiday, if you’d like to show your gratitude to an amazing vet tech, here are a few simple ideas for vet tech appreciation week: 

  • Surprise them with a cup of coffee 
  • Give them a handwritten thank you note 
  • Give them a positive shoutout when leaving a review for your pet’s animal hospital or veterinarian’s office, including social media platforms 

Of course, just a simple ‘thank you’ will go a long way, any day of the year! 

We are so appreciative of all of the hard-working Vet Techs who make a difference in animals’ lives each day! Interested in a career as a Vet Tech with AZPetVet? We’re always looking for hardworking team members! Visit our careers page for more information on current positions available. 

Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week – September 20-26, 2020

Why You Should Consider Special Needs Animals for Adoption


Shelters and rescues are packed with homeless pets. At AZPetVet, we work with many rescue groups and organizations around the Valley, such as LovePup, to help as many animals in need of adoption as we possibly can. The ASPCA estimates that around 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year – approximately 3.3 million dogs and 3.2 million cats. Each year, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats). Special needs animals are consistently overlooked for adoption simply because so many people prefer to adopt cute puppies and kittens.

If you search ‘animals up for adoption near me’, you’ll get a huge string of results from all sorts of shelter and rescue organizations vying for your attention. All of them have pets that have been waiting weeks, months, and sometimes years to find their fur-ever homes. Typically, ‘less adoptable’ refers to animals in some unique categories including special needs and even hair color. While the term ‘special needs’ might sound intimidating, it’s a category term for pets who may need a little extra care. Physical disability, behavior, chronic illness, or medical conditions can all put an animal into this category, reducing their chance of finding a home. That’s why created ‘Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week’ – to help raise awareness of these wonderful animals who are too often overlooked. Here, we’ll highlight the most common types of special needs pets and the reasons you may want to consider them.

Older Dogs

Senior pets end up in shelters for a variety of reasons. Some may have health conditions that can be managed with diet and medications, others are perfectly healthy. Sometimes, the owner can no longer afford to care for them, becomes ill, moves, or just doesn’t want a pet anymore. Given the chance, older dogs can adapt to a new home and family, and become wonderful companion animals for families. Older dogs are especially great for individuals that enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle, as they require a lot less exercise, and are often just happy to curl up next to their beloved person. Many people prefer to skip the rambunctiousness, potty training, and additional training that comes with adopting a puppy or kitten. Older pets usually know basic commands and tend to be more mellow, so they’re ideal for senior citizens. And yes, old dogs can learn new tricks – it’s just a matter of working with them to develop new habits. Positive reinforcement is the best approach. The Arizona Humane Society even offers a Senior to Senior adoption program with discounted fees. Like people, older pets will require regular wellness checks to keep them healthy and happy for life, so this should also be considered when adopting a senior animal.

Pets With Medical Conditions

Many shelter dogs and cats have some form of short- or long-term medical condition, especially older animals. Younger animals with less developed immune systems, or that haven’t received the required vaccination series can contract diseases, like parvovirus, distemper, kennel cough, or Valley Fever. With the right family or individual, plus regular veterinary care, many health conditions can be managed through medications, lifestyle and dietary modifications, and some good old fashioned TLC. With the right treatment and care, most pets will enjoy a good quality of life for years to come with their new families.

Hearing loss or deafness is another reason people will overlook adoptable pets. Congenital deafness often occurs in predominantly white or merle-coated breeds like Dalmatians, Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, English Setters, white Boxers, and white Bull Terriers. While they may not be able to hear, most of these pets can learn simple sign language commands. Aside from the hearing loss, they’re still the same wonderful, loving creatures – they just need the chance to show it.

Behavior Problems

Just like people, no pet is perfect. Behavior problems are a common reason for people surrendering animals to a shelter or rescue. Pets with behavior problems have special needs, and require consistent, specialized training from a professional to get them back on track. Behavior issues can range from poor potty training, separation anxiety, or not getting along with other animals/children, to aggression. Many issues can be resolved with stability, consistent training, regular exercise and play, and of course, love.

Black Dogs & Cats

Research studies consistently show that black dogs and cats have a more difficult time getting adopted than others. Black dogs and cats are often left behind in shelters and rescues due to centuries of ingrained superstitions and old wives’ tales. The reality is that black dogs and cats are just as loveable as any other pet. While it may be harder to capture their cuteness and features in a photo without proper lighting, no matter what, black cats and dogs bring the same brand of goofy, unconditional love as other pets.

Remember, loving pets come in all shapes and sizes, colors, and breeds. Take some time to get to know one another when you’re looking for a new pet. You never know, it could be a loving match for life. Good luck in your search!

Need a good vet for your new pet? AZPetVet has 21 locations around the Valley. Click here to find a location near you.

Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.